With the eighteenth post, our little list is all grown up. It can vote and is responsible for its own actions. We have considered kicking it out of the house, too. Damn mooch. Get a job. And get off my lawn. Kids these days.
As we move on to select the 18th prospect, the readers are going to have to reinvent the argument. Bulmer is gone, Mario Lucia is off the list, and we are left with some players no one has even mentioned yet. Have some fun. Eighteen should be fun.
Our list thus far:
1. Mikael Granlund
2. Charlie Coyle
3. Jason Zucker
4. Marco Scandella
5. Jonas Brodin
6. Zack Phillips
7. Matt Hackett
8. Jared Spurgeon
9. Johan Larsson
10. Casey Wellman
11. Colton Gillies
12. Darcy Kuemper
13. Justin Falk (tiebreaker)
14. Tyler Cuma
15. Brett Bulmer
16. Nate Prosser
17. Mario Lucia
As always, bios and stats... after the jump.
We are using using Dan's definition of prospect from last year:
Requirements for rookies:
*Under the age of 27
**Has played less than 53 NHL Games (some exceptions apply e.g Gillies)
***Has played less than 4 years of pro hockey
Still in the Game:
We need to add into the mix some of the guys that have been around awhile. Almond was the number eight prospect according to Dan last December. Is he still there? Higher? Lower? It always seems that Almond is just on the edge of making his mark in the NHL, only to be sent back to Houston yet again. Where he fits in the lineup is still tough to predict. He strikes me as a Kyle Brodziak type player, that fits a bit everywhere, and not completely anywhere. He may not be the next coming, but he sure needs to get an extended sniff. And soon.
Lucia was the sweet, hometown story from the draft. The Wild trade up to get a second round pick, then draft not only a Minnesotan, but the son of the coach of the University of Minnesota's hockey program. It's so so sweet it could be made by Hersheys, and so corny that Cargill wants a cut. Still, Lucia wasn't picked because he is a hometown boy. He was picked because he was a great value at the 60th pick, and the Wild saw that value. Second round picks are a favorite of Chuck Fletcher, and the Wild have had some success in the second round in the past. Where will Mario end up in the franchise? Who knows. He has a long time to develop, so it may take awhile to know. He has to be considered in the top twenty, being a second round pick, but don't expect to see him in green anytime soon.
Who in their right mind considers a seventh round pick to be a potential top 20 prospect? Well, when he shows the promise that Haula does, we do. He was playing on the top line for the Golden Gophers last year after having strong success in Omaha in the USHL (thank you to @Big_Weiss for clarification here). Haula may still be a long shot, but the odds are starting to look better and better that he has a real shot at some NHL time. Still a ton of work to do, but the kid has the work ethic to do it.
Time to throw another d-man into the mix. The Elk River, MN native and Stifler look alike, Prosser has the goods. A college free agent signing, Prosser was an anchor for the Aeros last year, and Mike Yeo has a ton of faith in him, as does Chuck Fletcher. Don't be surprised to see Prosser as the first call up for any injuries on the blue line. He is not an offensive stud, but he isn't Martin Skoula, so he has that going for him. With a young defensive corps, Prosser is near the top of the list. DOn't discount this kid too quickly.
Yet another Minnesota native, and yet another college free agent signing. Palmer put up 28 points in his first pro season, to go with 64 PIMs. He is a physical player with a nose for the net, and someone who could be an exciting prospect if his development curve continues. He has a log jam in front of him, so if he wants to crack the big squad, he will have to differentiate himself, but that isn't impossible. He has the attitude, and the ethic to do it. Despite the stats above, he is a forward... not a d-man. He is also from Fridley, not Fredley.
The Aeros enforcer has proven himself a mighty opponent in the AHL. He may have a tough time cracking the roster unless things go in a route in which the Wild are being beaten up night after night, or until Kassian improves his all around game a bit more. His toughness and grit are second to none, but with the style of team Chuck Fletcher looks to be building, Kassian doesn't look to crack the NHL any time soon. Which is too bad, because he really is a good hockey player, and great guy.
The Wild's fifth round draft pick in this year's draft is an unknown quantity at this point. Drafting players straight out of high school is always a bit of a risk, but Seeler did well in his senior year, putting up 43 points (9G, 34A), with 48 PIMs in 28 games. He has tasted success, winning two state championships in his tenure at Eden Prairie High School. A winning attitude is always welcome in prospects, and hopefully that tradition continues as he heads to the USHL for further development.
McMillan is another of the Wild prospects that would likely make a solid third or fourth line grinder if and when he makes it to the NHL. He is big enough, at 6' 2", 190lbs, and he isn't afraid to throw his weight around when needed, as is evident by his 70+ PIMs in his last five seasons. He isn't blowing the doors off, but he is most certainly getting the job done. Given a chance to be a role player, McMillan would excel.
A mid round pick in 2009, Foucault has been a teammate of McMillan before, and will now be again, and is headed into his first full pro season with the Aeros. He is at about the same level of development as McMillan, so may be just a shade ahead of him. He put up a reasonable 48 points (25G, 23A) with the Hitmen last year, so his offensive production is not his strong area. His consistency in in question, as he can be streaky with both production and "hockey sense." He needs some time, but could still work out just fine.
Broda came to the Wild during last year's development camp, impressed, and scored a contract with the organization. In his first year in Houston, he was a bit of a disappointment, and spent as much time in ECHL Bakersfield as he did with the AHL affiliate. When the Caps did not sign him, Wild fans were more than happy to see him in development with the Wild, and fans had high hopes. At this point, they need to be tempered until he turns on the jets a bit.
I know what most of you are saying right now. Who? Hamburg is another prospect spending some time in the USHL, building up his bulk, and then likely headed for the college game. He was a seventh round pick, so even if he doesn't work out, he is not a huge loss. He has had reasonable success with 20 points in 31 games in Omaha, but again, nothing spectacular. Long term project, zero risk.